After road-testing a carbon cap-and-trade system modeled on Europe’s for the last two years, China may be concluding that it is too unreliable to adopt as national policy—dealing a disappointment to EU hopes for a common emissions trading market.
Yi Wang, a member of China’s National People’s Congress and influential vice-president of its Academy of Sciences, suggests the nation is leaning instead toward a carbon tax, Climate Home reports.
China’s EU-modeled emissions market pilot project is behind schedule, Yi told an audience in Brussels. The scheme has been challenged by “a cocktail of issues, including large regional differences, regulatory issues, data verification, market models, and management capacity,” the correspondent Arthur Neslen reports, citing Yi’s remarks.
After giving it emissions trading try, Yi told his audience, “I think we would employ a different measure to promote low-carbon development and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. I would have another choice: a carbon tax.”
Europe’s eight-year-old emissions trading scheme has hardly been a runaway success. “Carbon prices have struggled to rise above €5 a tonne,” Climate Home notes, “due to waves of free allocations to heavy industry, intended to forestall their relocation abroad. The result has been a carbon price too low to trigger meaningful change.”
In light of that experience, “it is plain to everyone that a tax could be more effective than carbon trading,” commented Isabel Hilton, editor of the chinadialogue website. “When you look at everything that made it not work in the EU, you’ve got it in spades in China.”
The story cites unnamed EU officials, however, insisting they would be “surprised” if China didn’t follow through on discussions they said were ongoing on linking the two jurisdictions’ emissions trading markets.